Alice Waters: TOP TEN BOOKS

Alice Waters – Top Ten Books

Alice Waters - Top Ten Books

2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Alice Waters’ landmark Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, and time has only served to burnish the chef’s credentials as the pioneer of a hot-off-the-fields food movement that has become almost de rigueur. A prolific writer, her reading list helps illuminate the ideas that drive her own approach to food, while simultaneously offering a primer for anyone interested in living a more nutritious, and happier, life.

Below are Alice Waters’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


The French Menu Cookbook

Richard Olney
Olney is one of the great recipe writers, because all of his recipes work. He was a painter, and channels that vivid language into make his recipes come to life on the page.
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A Book of Mediterranean Food

Elizabeth David
I was very lucky that someone gave me this as my first cookbook. David doesn't give a lot in terms of the recipes - "take a handful and throw it in the pan with some garlic" - so you have to think for yourself. And then you figure it out.
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Sacred Food: Cooking for Spiritual Nourishment

Elisabeth Luard
Worth it for the pictures alone - people celebrating the important moments of their lives. There's an Indian banquet where everyone is eating off of leaves, sitting on the floor. One of these days, I'm going to thrown an event like that.

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A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein
Who needs a big place to live in? You need a front porch, you need a busy street, you need neighbors to say hello and goodnight to, and you need a bedroom to restore yourself. This is a book you can open on any page. You might find a drawing of the narrow streets of Ethiopia, or a chapter titled, "Dancing in the Streets", which is something people have done forever.
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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Eric Schlosser
I like to tell the good news. Schlosser tells the bad news. Sometimes it just needs to be said.
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The Man Who Planted Trees

Jean Giona
This book is so hopeful that I gave it to Obama. It feels so naive that it almost reads like a children's book, but it's something I believe - that you can change the world by planting trees.
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And The Pursuit of Happiness

Maira Kalman
I love Maira. She is always talking about this country and how we behave, and looking for the good news. This book is incredibly important to me because it's about Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers, and how she kind of found them.
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Savage Inequalities

Jonathan Kozol
A book that shocked me - that there are schools that flood in the winter, that kids have to put on their boots to cross the campus to use restrooms - and it's even worse now.
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What Are People For?

Wendell Berry
Berry puts that stake in the ground. He's a poet as well as a wonderful writer, and his message is simple: Nature is our teacher. We just need to listen and feel it, and try not to get in its way.
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Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair

Carlo Petrini
Petrini knows how to win people over, and he's a writer who translates difficult ideas about biodiversity and sustainability into metaphors that readers can understand right away

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